Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from a Sarasota Injury Attorney
Maria Gerber and
Gerber Law have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help educate you
about personal injury lawsuits. Every personal injury case is different,
however; if you have specific questions about your particular case,
contact Gerber Law right away to set up a
FREE consultation with personal, yet aggressive Sarasota personal injury lawyer
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have the right to compensation for my injuries? If another person's or a company's negligence caused your injuries,
you may have the right to compensation for wage loss, past and future
medical expenses, attendant care and pain and suffering. Schedule a free
consultation with Sarasota injury attorney Maria Gerber to find out more.
What are Gerber Law's goals if they represent me? Maria Gerber and her staff want to make sure you receive fair compensation
for your injuries. Your health and well-being is the most important thing,
and Maria Gerber will fight to make sure you receive compensation adequate
to take care of your needs.
What if I have a question about my case? Gerber Law is committed to personal service and personal attention. Maria
Gerber or her staff is always available to answer any questions you may
have about your case. Contact the firm right away if you need questions answered.
Do I have the right to compensation for injuries to a family member? If another person's or a company's negligence injured or killed
a member of your family, you may be entitled to a
wrongful death claim or for expenses incurred caring for an injured family member. Sarasota
injury lawyer Maria Gerber can answer all your questions about your situation;
contact Gerber Law today for a free consultation.
How much are the attorney fees for my case? You do not pay unless you win.
Maria Gerber's clients pay her on a contingency fee basis, and she will receive
a percentage of your award as her fee and as reimbursement for any costs
expended in your case. If you do not prevail in your case, you are not
responsible for any of Maria's costs or fees.
How much is my case worth? The value of every case depends upon individual circumstances, such as
degrees of fault between you and the defendant, the severity of your injuries,
how much you have healed and whether you can live a normal life going
forward. Depending on your case's circumstances, you could receive
compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and
suffering or even punitive damages.
Contact Gerber Law for a
FREE consultation to have Maria Gerber assess your case.
How long will my case take? Most personal injury claims are finalized within nine to 24 months; however,
the length of time depends on the duration of the investigation, the severity
of your injuries, your medical treatment and whether litigation is required.
Should I talk to the
company before I talk to an attorney? Never talk to the other driver's insurance company until you have talked
to an attorney. The insurance company may be able to use your statements
against you later. Once hired, Maria will file a letter of representation
with the other driver's insurance company and the insurance company
will stop calling you!
Should I talk to an attorney even if my injury does not seem serious? Some injuries may seem mild and manifest later into much more
serious injuries, such as brain trauma. The statute of limitations in Florida
for personal injury lawsuits is four years from the date of the accident.
You should talk to an attorney right away if you have suffered an accidental
injury to protect your rights.
Should I take pictures of my injuries? It is best for you to take the photos as close in time to the accident
as possible, and of course, prior to any repairs. If you are unable to
take photos because of your condition or because you are in the hospital,
you may wish to ask family members or friends to visit the scene and take
photos for you. Additionally, attempt to photograph your vehicle before
someone tows the vehicle from the scene or removes it from your home.
If you hire Maria, she will send someone to photograph the vehicle for you.
Take photographs of any of the following if you are able:
- Your injuries showing bruises or lacerations
- The accident scene
- Any broken or impacted object, such as the vehicle, personal possessions
or effects such as clothing, shoes, eye glasses, cell phones or laptops
What else can I do to help my case? The best thing you can do is keep in frequent contact with your attorney
and keep your attorney informed. Even if your case has a fact that you
think will hurt your chances of prevailing, you should still let your
lawyer know. Maria Gerber can only attempt to handle the negative aspects
of your case if you are honest with her. Do not hide any information about
your personal background, the accident or your medical history - if you
have a pre-existing condition or a previous injury, let Attorney Gerber
know! Make sure to provide copies of all your medical records and your
bills, and notify your attorney of every doctor appointment. Follow your
doctors' advice and communicate clearly and honestly with every medical
provider so the doctors' records are complete. Make sure to notify
your attorney if you move, get married, get divorced, change jobs, lose
your job or find a new doctor or physical therapist. Also notify your
attorney if you get hurt again.
What should I tell my attorney? Make sure to let your attorney know about all of the following:
- Any prior lawsuits in which you have been involved, whether you filed the
suit yourself or whether someone else filed one against you
- Any criminal history you may have
- Any previous accidents, injuries, hospitalizations or psychiatric conditions
- Any prior worker's compensation claims you have filed
- Whether you use or abuse alcohol or drugs
- Any accidents or injuries that you sustained after the subject accident
- Any statements you made to an insurance adjuster
- Whether you have failed to report income on any tax returns or have failed
to file any tax returns
- Whether you have given incorrect information or failed to tell the truth
with regard to the accident
- Any past or present bankruptcy proceedings
Do I have to accept the amount my insurance
company offers me? You do not have to accept an insurance company's settlement offer.
You should consult with an attorney before accepting or declining any
insurance settlement. Maria Gerber can review your situation and advise
you as to whether a lawsuit or an insurance settlement is right for you.
How do I know if I should settle my case? Whether to settle your case is up to you. Maria Gerber will guide you through
the process and help you understand how the process works. Attorney Maria
Gerber will make sure you know everything you need to know before deciding
to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or the other party.
Your attorney will let you know whether she believes settlement is best
or whether you should proceed with litigation, but the decision is ultimately
yours, and no one will force you to settle.
If I do settle my case, what happens next? If you agree to settle, after you and the insurance company execute the
settlement paperwork, Ms. Gerber will receive the check from the insurance
company in about 20 days. You must then sign the check; however, Ms. Gerber
will keep the check in the firm's trust account until it clears, pursuant
to Florida law. Once the check clears, she will send you an itemized statement
showing her fees and costs and stating how much you will receive. Once
you approve the statement, Ms. Gerber will meet with you and issue a check
for your portion of the settlement proceeds.
Will I have to file a lawsuit? You will only have to file a lawsuit if Attorney Gerber is unable to reach
an agreement with the insurance company and the other party.
Will I have to go to trial? If you do file a lawsuit, you will not necessarily have to go to trial.
A very small percentage of civil lawsuits actually go to trial, typically
10 to 15 percent.
What happens if I lose my trial? If you lose at trial, you have options available to you to try again.
Your attorney can file a motion for new trial; and the court will grant
the motion if something egregious happened during the trial that made
the trial unfair. If you cannot get a new trial, you can file an appeal.
The appeal process usually takes between one year and 18 months. If you
do lose, you will not have to pay any attorney fees to your attorney,
although you will have to pay a tax on some of the defendant's trial
costs, and you may have to pay some of the defendant's costs and attorneys' fees.
What happens if I win my trial? If you win at trial, you can tax the defendant for certain trial costs.
If the jury awards you more than the defendant offered you in settlement
negotiations, the court might award you attorneys' fees and costs,
and the defendant would have to pay them. If the defendant appeals the
verdict and loses, you can get interest on the judgment that accrued between
the verdict and the appellate decision.